Axios

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 5,000

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 5,100 people in the United States, as more state governors issued stay-at-home orders Wednesday to curb the spread. Over 216,000 people are now infected and more than 8,500 others have recovered.

The state of play: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 45 mins ago - Health

Trump admin won't reopen ACA enrollment for uninsured amid outbreak

President Trump speaks while flanked by Vice President Mike Pence during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Trump administration has decided not to reopen enrollment to uninsured Americans for the Affordable Care Act's Healthcare.gov marketplaces, an official confirmed to Axios Wednesday.

Driving the news: President Trump said last week he was considering the move in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, notes Politico, which first reported the news.

Go deeperArrow58 mins ago - Health

Fauci's security beefed up following threats

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Security has been stepped up for Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, after he received "growing threats to his personal safety," the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Fauci as the top U.S. infectious disease expert plays a leading role in the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Two planes carrying protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 930,000 and the global death toll exceeded 46,000 on Wednesday night, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 13,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

FBI sees record number of gun background checks amid coronavirus

Guns on display at a store in Manassas, Va. Photo: Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty

The FBI processed a record 3.7 million gun background checks in March — more than any month previously reported, according to the agency's latest data.

Driving the news: The spike's timing suggests it may be driven at least in part by the coronavirus.

What disease modeling could learn from weather forecasting

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COVID-19 has brought the arcane work of mathematical disease modelers to the forefront, as politicians search for ways to flatten the curve.

Why it matters: Models are the only way we can plan out effective steps now to prevent more deaths in the future. But modeling a disease in mid-pandemic isn't easy, and important nuance can be lost in the translation between academic modelers and policymakers.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - Health

The well of protective gear in the U.S. is running dry

Medical workers wear masks as they walk back to GW hospital in D.C. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. government's great coronavirus airlift came not a minute too soon.

What they're saying: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the WashPost reports this afternoon

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Netanyahu shared fake video as proof of Iranian virus cover-up

Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared with his Cabinet a video he claimed was evidence of Iran concealing coronavirus deaths by dropping bodies in garbage dumps, two Cabinet ministers tell me.

Behind the scenes: Several hours later, Netanyahu's office realized the video had nothing to do with Iran, or with the coronavirus crisis. It was a clip from “Pandemic," a 2007 Hallmark Channel mini-series.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - World

Very small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis

Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Small businesses were responsible for the entirety of the 27,000 net jobs that the private sector shed in March, according to a closely watched employment report by payroll provider ADP.

Why it matters: The extent of job losses is much worse than the ADP survey suggests, as it was conducted before states stepped up coronavirus containment efforts. But it shows that America's smallest businesses were hit hardest first, even as bigger corporations continued hiring.

Stocks drop 4% after Trump's coronavirus warning

Outside of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Between the lines: The declines come after President Trump on Tuesday braced the country for a "very painful" few weeks "like we've never seen before," as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the U.S. and the economy remains largely shut down.

Coronavirus delays major climate change conference

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A landmark United Nations climate change summit, originally scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, is being delayed until next year.

Why it matters: This isn't just another major convention scuttled by coronavirus. This is a make-or-break moment as countries face pressure to increase their ambitions to tackle climate change.

West Virginia is latest state to delay primary due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice rescheduled the state's May 12 primary election to June 9 on Wednesday, citing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while many states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday after the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to nearly 7,000.

Why it matters: DeSantis has been criticized for declining to order any statewide mandates to curb the spread of the coronavirus even as Florida — home to a significant elderly population — was increasingly becoming a hotspot. The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and last for 30 days.

Go deeperArrow11 hours ago - Health

Podcast: The Defense Production Act

The Trump administration has been hesitant to fully invoke the Defense Production Act to address medical supply shortages during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The New York Times reports that the Department of Defense has implemented the DPA regularly during Trump’s presidency. Dan goes deeper with the Times' Zolan Kanno-Youngs.

Go deeper... Defense Production Act: What you need to know

Pence: Coronavirus impact in U.S. may be "most comparable" to Italy

Vice President Mike Pence told CNN Wednesday that White House modeling suggests "Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States" in terms of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Italy has become one of the global epicenters of the pandemic, with 105,792 cases and 12,428 deaths. Public health experts have warned for weeks that the U.S. would be on the same path if it didn't take drastic measures to stem the spread of the virus.

Go deeperArrow12 hours ago - World

Jason Kilar named CEO of WarnerMedia

Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Jason Kilar has been named CEO of WarnerMedia, effective May 1, the company announced Wednesday.

The big picture: Kilar, the founding CEO of Hulu, replaces John Stankey, AT&T’s president and chief operating officer. Kilar will report to Stankey, who has been acting as CEO of WarnerMedia.

Private equity hits the brakes amid coronavirus recovery uncertainties

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Private equity is still working on opportunistic deals when it can get a break from portfolio triage, but it's also boarding up the exits amid new questions about the speed of the coronavirus recovery.

The state of play: Sale processes are being shelved daily, even ones that already launched with investment bankers, data rooms, and interested suitors.

China's medical diplomacy is empowering euroskeptic leaders

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Chinese government has embarked on a highly publicized campaign to provide vital medical supplies to European countries as they fight coronavirus outbreaks within their borders.

Why it matters: Those efforts — and the perception that the European Union has done little to help — are providing fodder for politicians who are eager to hail China and criticize the EU. EU leaders may now have to worry about both Chinese and Russian overtures that weaken European unity.

Go deeperArrow14 hours ago - World

Why StubHub halted refunds

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With sports on pause and large gatherings banned across the globe, the live events industry has effectively ground to a halt.

The state of play: In the U.S. alone, more than 23,000 events have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled in the past three weeks.

Go deeperArrow15 hours ago - Sports

Renewable energy industry eyes next coronavirus stimulus bill

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The renewable energy sector is pressing for the "phase 4" coronavirus response bill to provide the aid that was omitted from the recent $2 trillion rescue package — and they might have a wider opening this time around.

Why it matters: Wind and solar developers are warning of project cancelations and layoffs as activity is frozen, supply chains are disrupted, and companies risk missing deadlines to use tax credits.

Americans feel better about their finances after coronavirus stimulus

Americans have become more optimistic about the state of their finances in the last week, a new survey from Axios and Ipsos shows.

The state of play: While some remain worried, particularly those at the lower end of the economic spectrum, the data shows people are more confident about the security of their jobs and ability to take care of expenses after the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

Trump's new dark, dire coronavirus outlook

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Never has President Trump looked and sounded so somber and downbeat as he did at dinnertime yesterday as he walked America through the "very, very painful" days of death ahead. 

Why it matters ... It was a moment the history books won’t forget: Trump, who a week ago was talking about an Easter-time return to work, warned in grim detail of the potential for 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

The new labor movement

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on working people, who are increasingly banding together to put pressure on employers and raise public awareness about health and safety issues they're facing on the job.

Why it matters: After years of declining union membership, a new labor movement is rising, amplified by the power of social media and fueled by concerns that workers deemed essential during the crisis are putting their lives at risk to ensure the well-being of others.

Medicaid will be a coronavirus lifeline

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Medicaid will be a lifeline for droves of Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Medicaid has long been the safety net that catches people during hard times, but a crisis of this magnitude will call upon the program — and strain states' budgets — like never before.

Go deeperArrow19 hours ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Rich sheltered, poor shafted amid virus

The coronavirus is spreading a dangerous strain of inequality. Better-off Americans are still getting paid and are free to work from home, while the poor are either forced to risk going out to work or lose their jobs.

Driving the news: This sobering reality emerges from Week 3 of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Go deeperArrow20 hours ago - Health

How the pandemic will reshape cities

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic will leave its mark on urban centers long after the outbreak itself recedes.

Why it matters: The most densely populated cities are ground zero for the virus' rapid spread and highest death tolls — and they're also likely to be pioneers in making lasting changes to help prevent the same level of devastation in the future.

Go deeperArrow20 hours ago - Health

Biden doubts Democratic convention can go ahead as planned amid outbreak

2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic presidential debate in a CNN studio in Washington, D.C. on March 15. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

2020 candidate Joe Biden said on MSNBC Tuesday evening it's "hard to envision" the Democratic National Convention going ahead as planned in July when cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise. But he believes elections can take place during pandemics if alternative methods are used — like "drive-in voting."

The big picture: President Trump said earlier Tuesday projections indicated COVID-19 could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The virus has killed more than 4,000 people and infected almost 190,000 others as of Wednesday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeperArrow22 hours ago - Health

NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference Tuesday of plans to triple hospital bed numbers to combat the novel coronavirus by transforming facilities into makeshift hospitals — including U.S. Open tennis courts.

The big picture: The city now accounts for a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said NYC had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. "We now need to, in just the next weeks ... produce three times that number," he said.

Go deeperArrow23 hours ago - Health